(for Niyi Osundare)

God is reading the Washington Post
Bidding the angels to reduce the noise
Of their praise 
Fine grains of men chant Ahaili* in the desert 
And God drops his paper

God is dancing to men's drums 
As they clap from the sand dunes 
Poets are the strings that hold Gods heart

For God floats in their skies 
And lightning up their minds to words

But do not mistake God for shivering flowers 
Or soaring seas 
Do not say you have seen Him in rocks 
God sits near the musing of poets 
The all seeing eye 
Without a telescope.

Performed at the 2015 Niyi Osundare Poetry Festival at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan

— — — — — — — — —

The Congress of Memory 
(For Niyi Osundare)

Before me is a ladder of words 
before my naked astral 
as I wrestle with words 
for a congress

that spread from here to elsewhere

My destiny is a tranquil journey 
clear as the obstacles beckon
for prophets have gone before me 
Post-colonial hymnals

Post-post colonial protests 
folklore and imagery nuanced 
by the signature of my tongue

I face myself 
in a telephone conversation of grey hairs
but I see youth 
in a playground of growing milk teeth

Before me
is a reincarnation of bards
Hunters and priests, eulogers and patricians 
Enslaved by the chaos of chains or chalices

Gropping in the dark for the light of a voice.

Poetry is not childs play 
But it is from a childs play 
Those elders know where a childs path leads

I am a Hightower
earning the praise of every sail
giving thanks to the gifts of the ancestors 
every gear of a new voyage

Is a subtle plagiarism 
every verse is a modern proverb

There are more mouths to feed
More songs to yarn 
More journeys to tale 
Before I join the congress of Memory.

— — — — — — — —

A Biographical Note
For Iye Osundare

A child is born 
A child whose screams 
Becomes a national song

His mother 
A noble priestess of marketplaces

A child is nursed 
On the herbs of Osun 
A river traversing the rocks, the barks of trees 
And the earthly pots

His mother a traveler 
Barefoot with her wares
Upon the hilly landscape

A child becomes a poet 
From the cannon fodder of mothers philosophy 
His mother becomes the Selah 
Of the ages composition

A mother is a bulb
Encyclopedic streams of dreams
That builds the poets cantos 
From his mothers ourve.

A poet is a stayer
In his pouch is nostalgia 
Of his landscape 
The victories of love 
That culls a metaphor into songs

Mothers are syncretic beings
They worship their sons with Oriki 
Sculpting their heads at every bath
 leaving behind seven white birds hovering over their heads.

— — — — — — — — — —

A River’s Child

Water rebels against the hegemony
of the edge 
She groans in an apartment with a lonely 

Water claims its land 
from the conquest of man 
for no truce was made 
and the elements of hate festered

Water protested 
a plosive after a long-suffering 
surging from the banks 
to the banks of earthly treasures

Water waged a battle 
without a rainbow flag in sight
without the esigna of the star spangled banner

Katrina tramples on its friends 
blinded by the surge to punish

Orleans woke Osun in its sleep

Katrina vexed 
but forgot that a river child 
Never dies from water

Katrina quotes Elliot 
And Osun sways to a proverb of songs

Katrina flips the pages 
Over-reaches like a militant

But a river’s child cannot choke 
By a body of water 
A river’s child cannot float
Lifeless from the river of elsewhere

Katrina immortalizes itself 
With scrawls of dilapidation 
Katrina collects the treasure of tears 
Katrina forgets the element of memory.

Femi Morgan. Winner of the 234Next Fashion Copy Prize|Co-Recipient of the IB Poetry Prize for Contributions to Nigerian Literature|Longlisted for the BN Poetry Prize.